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Friday 1 January 2010

A Stroll Across The Astroturf – 8

As the Charity Commission opens a regulatory compliance case into the affairs of the Politics and Economics Research Trust – the supposedly charitable arm of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance – another piece of “research” has been published by the TPA’s so-called “research fellow” Mike Denham (aka Wat Tyler, as I’ve noted previously). Denham, not for the first time, raises the spectre of debt, but unfortunately for him and the TPA, also talks industrial strength drivel on the subject.

He focuses on the problems faced by Greece, which I’ve covered before. And here we are told that the Euro – the currency used throughout the country – is “effectively a foreign currency”. It is? Well, Mike Denham says so – and he also says that it’s controlled by “the Franco-German alliance”. Wow. Perhaps he’d like to tell the Governments of Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Cyprus, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Malta and Slovakia of his discovery – or just stop talking such drivel. The central banks of all Eurozone countries participate in managing the currency.

But the discussion of the Greek problem is only a foretaste for Denham’s main thrust: the foreign currency liabilities of the UK banking system. As usual with TPA “research”, there has to be a graph, because, well, TPA “research” has lots of “figures” to make it look authoritative. And Mike has a really big scary number to bring to our attention: 4.2 trillion quid. He suggests that the banks’ collateral for this debt might not be all that sound, but – surprise, surprise – brings forward no evidence whatever in support.

So we have to take him at his word, and as he can’t even describe the management of the Euro correctly, that’s not likely to happen. With this level of accuracy, Denham may be even closer to junk status than Greece. Is he being paid for this? Hey, I’ve just figured out a way to cut waste – something the TPA can look at while they wait for their accounts to finally see the light of day.

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